Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist was gracious in defeat but expressed surprise over an injured Ambati Rayudu's decision to come off the bench and don the keeping gloves for Mumbai Indians after regular stumper Davey Jacobs got hurt in their Indian Premier League match at the Wankhede on Monday.
"Ambati was off the field injured. We saw him getting injured and we saw him getting down with serious pain, which is fine. You go in and the 12th man comes in. (But) I found it extraordinary when Jacobs had to go off and suddenly Ambati Rayudu is fit to play again. You are either fit or not fit," said Gilchrist after his team's 23-run defeat.
"I know there is no rule or regulation against it. But question needs to be asked. If the fielder is not fit, Rohit Sharma probably would have been the one that would have to take the gloves. Two balls later he takes a spectacular catch in the outfield. So it's for you guys to write whether it was appropriate or not," he said.
"But it was not the reason we lost the game; far from it. They outplayed us. (But) full marks for us in the Kingfisher Spirit of cricket award. I am sure we will get ten out ten for that game," said the retired Australian great.
On the defeat, Punjab's fourth in seven games, Gilchrist said the batting failed to fire though the bowlers did a very good job to restrict Mumbai to 159.
"We had our chances. Particularly today our bowlers did a good job to restrict them to that total. We fell only 20 short. It was pretty close. As a batting unit we have not fired in the tournament. In the last two games we have not batted well. We are trying to improve on that," he said.
He conceded that except for the 72-run partnership between Shaun Marsh who made a fine 61 and Paul Valthaty (33), the batting was ordinary.
"We did not establish enough partnerships after the decent one between Marsh and Valthaty. As a batting unit we did not fire. I took risk in the first over which did not come off. If you look at that (MI) line-up there's big name after big name and they all played very well," he said.
"They bowled really well. Obviously me getting out first over was a setback. It put a bit of pressure in your batting partner and the guy coming in. They did not want to lose another wicket straightaway. They got to settle down a bit.
"And they bowled very well to Paul. He got hit on the finger which slowed him a little bit. I thought he fought back well. He and Shaun set up a nice partnership that set us up in a decent enough position to try and chase those runs down," he said.
Gilchrist was not surprised at Mumbai's decision to open the bowling with Harbhajan Singh.
"(I was) not surprised. Sachin uses his bowlers well and Harbhajan always bowls well to me. Always been a great battle. he won the battle today. I took the risk and it did not come off. He's a very skilful bowler and does a great job for them," Gilchrist said.
The former Australian stumper praised the pitch at the Wankhede stadium.
"Wicket was very nice typical Indian wicket. A fraction slow, spun a bit, (was) dusty, bounced a bit, good competitive wicket to bat and bowl," he said.
About foes-turned-friends, Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, he said they appeared to be one happy unit.
"They are one happy family. Good for them. They are going fine. On a serious note, one of the beauties of this competition is you get to know people you have only played against. Before the game I asked Harbhajan how is it going with Symmo and he said it's great, he's a nice man. It's amazing how when you don't know someone you have an opinion or perception," said Gilchrist.
Unlike former Australia all-rounder, Tom Moody, Gilchrist was not in favour of Tom having five foreigners in the XI.
"It's one of the intrigues of the IPL. It's a domestic competition. It should not get too top heavy with international players. English Premier League is an entertaining league, but is it doing for English football. What you hope the benefits of IPL would do for Indian cricket? I am pretty comfortable with four players at the moment," he said.